Can A Psychiatrist Treat Addiction?

While psychiatrists are an integral part of addiction treatment, there are limitations to going to a psychiatrist’s office for treatment. Comprehensive treatment centers offer evidence-based treatments, medication, and other effective interventions for better results.

When treating drug or alcohol addiction, an addiction psychiatrist can be an integral part of your recovery journey.

Psychiatrists are often involved in the treatment of addiction due to the adverse effects that substance abuse has on the brain and mental illness’s ability to cause addiction.

With that said, a psychiatrist is only able to offer one aspect of addiction treatment. For the best results, people often require a multi-pronged approach.

Addiction As A Mental Health Condition

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction is classified as a mental health disorder due to the fact that addiction alters brain chemistry and cognitive function.

Many people who abuse drugs also have a dual diagnosis involving at least one other mental health issue.

Studies show that those diagnosed with mood disorders or anxiety disorders are two times more likely than the general population to be diagnosed with a substance use disorder.

As a result of the mental factors that contribute to substance abuse, it is often necessary for a psychiatrist to be involved in evidence-based addiction treatment.

How Psychiatrists Can Help With Addiction

Psychiatrists who specialize in addiction recovery work with clients affected by substance abuse disorders to help identify environmental factors and mental health conditions that contribute to their condition.

These mental health professionals can also identify adverse health effects patients experience due to addiction and help them access appropriate medical care to support their physical health.

This support often includes oversight during the detoxification process, as detox can cause a variety of unpleasant mental and physical side effects.

A qualified psychiatrist may also prescribe medications to help treat mental health symptoms.

The Limitations Of Going To A Psychiatrist For Treatment

Board-certified psychiatrists who have a subspecialty in addiction medicine play a variety of roles in substance abuse treatment.

These roles include:

  • conducting assessments to evaluate the impact of addiction on the person’s life
  • diagnosing co-occurring mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder, ADHD, personality disorders, schizophrenia, and other mental issues
  • creating personalized treatment plans that integrate psychotherapy and other evidence-based treatments based on individual needs
  • prescribing medications to assist in detox, managing withdrawal symptoms or cravings, or treating mental health disorders
  • provide counseling to help people create coping strategies and maintain sobriety

However, psychiatrists are not typically able to offer group support, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), residential support, wellness activities, or case management.

All of these features are commonly found at evidence-based addiction treatment facilities because of the strong correlation between comprehensive treatment and long-term sobriety.

Additionally, most psychiatrists can only see clients for a few hours a week at most, while many people who struggle with addiction require 24/7 care, especially in the early days of recovery.

The Benefits Of A Comprehensive Treatment Facility

Accredited addiction treatment centers provide a variety of evidence-based treatments, including many of the same therapies that clients would be able to access with a psychiatrist.

Licensed providers often offer cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing (MI), and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).

However, an accredited rehabilitation facility will also offer more intensive levels of care, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), case management, and wellness activities to bolster the benefits of psychiatric care.

Through these programs, clients are able to learn coping strategies, access community aid, build a sober community, and develop a long-term aftercare plan for effective relapse prevention.

Learn How To Start Addiction Treatment At Spring Hill

If you or a loved one are living with addiction, we can help.

Contact Spring Hill Recovery Center to learn more about our treatment programs and treatment options for co-occurring psychiatric disorders.

  1. American Psychiatric Association (APA)
  2. Coalition For A Drug-Free Clermont County
  3. Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  4. Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  5. National Library Of Medicine: PubMed
  6. West Virginia University School of Medicine

Written by Spring Hill Recovery Editorial Team

Published on: February 12, 2024

© 2024 Spring Hill Recovery | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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